Minnehaha Cake

Makes a three-layer (8-inch round) cake, or 16 to 18 slices.

Note: This recipe includes many of the historic elements of the Minnehaha Cake, topped off with a rich burnt-sugar frosting. From the “Southern Heritage Cakes Cookbook” (Oxmoor House, 1983).

• 1 c. butter, softened

• 2 c. sugar

• 4 eggs, separated, room temperature

• 3 c. all-purpose flour

• 1 tbsp. baking powder

• Pinch of salt

• 1 c. milk

• 1 1/2 tsp. almond extract

• Minnehaha Cake Frosting (see recipe)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream butter, then gradually add sugar, beating well. Add egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Combine flour, baking powder and salt. Add to creamed mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Mix well after each addition. Stir in almond extract.

In a separate bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form; fold into the batter.

Spoon batter into three greased and floured 8-inch round pans. Bake for 35 minutes or until cake tests done. Cool in pans for 10 minutes; remove layers from pans and let cool completely. Frost before serving.

Minnehaha Cake Frosting

Makes enough for one 3-layer cake.

Note: Monitoring the temperature of the frosting is a key to its success, so using a candy thermometer is highly recommended. From Cook’s Country magazine.

• 2 1/2 c. packed dark brown sugar

• 2 sticks (16 tbsp.) unsalted butter, softened, divided

• 2/3 c. heavy cream

• 1 c. sliced almonds, divided

• 2/3 c. raisins


Combine brown sugar, 10 tablespoons butter and cream in saucepan set over medium heat. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, and continue until mixture is slightly thickened and registers 240 degrees on candy thermometer.

Carefully transfer the liquid to the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and beat on medium speed until cooled to room temperature, about 15 minutes. Beat in remaining 6 tablespoons butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, until well incorporated.

For the filling: Pulse 3/4 cup almonds, raisins and 1 cup frosting in food processor until coarsely ground.

To assemble: Spread half of filling on first cake layer. Top with second cake layer and remaining filling. Top with final cake layer and frost top and sides with remaining plain frosting. Decorate with remaining almonds.


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